Despite the massive weather system that has mere mortals by the throat, our local cyclists who constitute Team Silver Cliff/Westcliffe felt compelled to train today. The plan was to cycle from Canon City to Florence to Wetmore and on up the Hardscrabble to Westcliffe. The route is the same as the seventh and final day of Ride the Rockies which is only five weeks away.
The route is only 48 miles, but the elevation gain is 6,000 feet. As Jim Remington said, “It’s not about the miles; it’s about the elevation.
The team drove down to Canon City under a glowering sky. Before leaving Canon for their cycle home, Brent Bruser offered what sounded like an invocation. Referencing his I-phone, he shared the Writer’s Almanac post for today, May 9.
The poem by Marge Piercy was titled “Hard Rain and Potent Thunder.” Piercy’s poem begins: An elephant herd of storm clouds / trample overhead. The air vibrates / electrically. The wind is rough / as hide scraping my face.” No truer words were ever spoken. Looking skyward, the team nearly bowed their heads in prayer. The synchronicity was not lost on the riders.
By the time the team reached Wetmore, the weather was holding fast but barely. Dirty white mist hung over The Wet Mountains. It was anybody’s guess whether the team was going to get pelted with rain, sleet or snow.
Reaching MacKenzie Junction at 11:30, the team experienced a brief smattering of rain, but the sky promised more. Ominous, every-which-way clouds scudded along like spring-run-off. Above those clouds, solid, wet-sheep clouds hung heavy with water. And rising above the layered cake of clouds, dense, white, Everest clouds threatened.
By the time the team had reached the Bear Basin cut-off, the temperature had dropped to 39-degrees, and the sky had made good on its threat. The sleet looked like pinhead, Styrofoam pellets to me. Later I was told that snow pellets are called graupel.
Wet and cold, the team beat the clock and arrived in Westcliffe for a warming cuppa just before the snow took hold.
Team members James Gerhardt, Mark Stamper, and Lockett Pitman were unable to make this training ride. Jim Remington and John Potts are not officially RTR team members; however, their hearts are with the team and as time allows, Remington and Potts train with them.